The University of California Irvine (UCI) Student Center Expansion sought to redefine the campus experience by expanding and rejuvenating the existing student center complex. One of the key goals of the UCI stakeholders was to create a seamless integration of the expanded facility into the bustling campus, something the design-build team was able to deliver on time and on budget.

A project of this magnitude encountered its fair share of challenges, each met with innovative solutions. With an ambitious scope of adding over 141,000 square feet and renovating an additional 68,000 square feet, the project doubled the size of the student center to an impressive 287,000 square feet. This expansion was not merely about increasing size; it was about integrating the new with the old, creating a unified and functional space that meets the evolving needs of the university community.

Notably, the adept handling of owner-initiated change orders late in the project, including the addition of a ballroom build-out and A/V systems, exemplified PCL's commitment to fulfilling the university's vision. PCL, D&CS, and the student center staff fostered an environment of transparent communication and mutual trust, pivotal in overcoming obstacles and delivering a project that met the budget and schedule timelines.

The UC Irvine Student Center Expansion project exemplifies sustainability in construction, securing LEED Gold certification. Notably, the project demonstrated excellence in Construction Waste Management (MRc2), diverting 83.6% of on-site generated construction waste from landfills, reflecting significant efforts in reducing environmental impact.

Moreover, the project's utilization of recycled materials (MRc4), with 19.5% of the total building materials content incorporating recycled components, garnered an “Exemplary Performance” LEED credit. In addition, the emphasis on using Local/Regional Materials (MRc5) ensured that 46.5% of the building materials were sourced within Southern California, supporting local economies and reducing transportation-related carbon emissions.

This project has been highly decorated, winning the regional award for rehabilitation, renovation and restoration from the DBIA – Western Pacific Region. The Southern California Concrete Producers and the National Electrical Contractors Association gave the expansion project awards of excellence.

The UCI Student Center expansion is an example of design-build success and will benefit the students and staff of UCI for many years to come. 

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